Speak Directly To a Lawyer Now

1300 038 223
Open 7am - Midnight, 7 days
Or have our lawyers call you:
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Citizen’s Arrests (Qld)

When people think about arrests, they generally think of procedures carried out by police. In some circumstances though, members of the public have the power to carry out arrests in Queensland. These are known as citizen’s arrests. The circumstances where this can occur are outlined in Chapter 58 of the Criminal Code 1899. This articles discusses citizen’s arrests in Queensland.

When can a citizen’s arrest occur?

In Queensland, a person may carry out a citizen’s arrest in the following situations:

How is a citizen’s arrest carried out?

A person who carries out a citizen’s arrest under Chapter 58 of the Criminal Code 1899 must ensure they do not exceed the powers the legislation gives them to do so.

Under section 552 of the Criminal Code 1899, a person who carries out a citizen’s arrest must take the person arrested before a justice to be dealt with or deliver them into police custody immediately. They may use reasonable force to carry out the arrest and should be willing to speak to police about why the arrest was carried out.

Unlawful arrests

Carrying out a citizen’s arrest involves risks. Citizen’s arrests usually occur spontaneously, and the arrestor generally does not have prior experience of handling such situations. There are serious consequences that can follow if the arrest is not carried out correctly.

If you arrest a person when you do not have the power to do so, this is false imprisonment. False imprisonment is the unlawful restraint of another person within a confined area. If this occurs, the person arrested may take legal action for the tort of false imprisonment. You could also be charged with the criminal offence of deprivation of liberty, which is the unlawful confinement or detention of a person in a place against their will.

If you carry out a citizen’s arrest and use more force than is reasonably necessary, subject the person to unnecessary humiliation or degradation, or fail to deliver the person into police custody without delay, this could also lead to the person arrested taking civil action.

Other risks of citizen’s arrests

Carrying out a citizen’s arrest also carries the risk that either party could become injured if the person being arrested resists arrest. There is also a risk that someone who witnesses the incident may misinterpret what is happening and try to intervene. For these reasons, a citizen’s arrest should only be attempted when it is absolutely necessary.

If you require legal advice or representation in any matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Fernanda Dahlstrom

This article was written by Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. She has also completed a Master’s in Writing and Literature. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory and in family law in Queensland.

Legal Hotline
Open 7am - Midnight, 7 Days
Call 1300 038 223